Jeffery St. Clair licks his wounds
I came across this interview of Jeffery St. Clair this morning and found it enlightening. What struck me most was how specious his argument was regarding the American left. I wasn't surprised that he dismissed the notion of US complicity in the attacks of September 11th, but was a little bewildered by the repetition of the Counterpunch talking points on the subject. He very clearly put forward the notion that interest in theories about 9/11 are not merely a symptom of the left's deep mistrust of the current administration, but are in fact a causative factor behind the left's inability to organize an effective resistance to the current administration. He states unequivocally that this focus on the cause of 9/11 has stopped people from organizing, distracted people from their opposition to the occupation of Iraq, and essentially reflects a retreat.
But he offers nothing in the way of evidence for this assertion, not even anecdotal evidence.
Speaking from my own experience of the anti-war movement in Portland, Oregon (St. Clair's hometown, by the way) I can tell you that I became disaffected from local organizing efforts during the lead up to the war on Iraq and after, not because I became interested in any conspiracy theory behind 9/11, but because the local organizing efforts were unable to clearly establish any definable goals and because the lead organizers were self-agrandizing, power grubbing, gutless wonders. In less vitriolic language, the committees and meetings were peopled by low level establishment types who were comfortable with the status-quo and who were mostly jockeying for position inside the mileu of the so called radical opposition.
A full year before the invasion of Iraq anti-war activists were planning what kind of protest rally would be held when the invasion occured.
After the invasion the leadership decided not to continue holding large rallies in opposition, but to scale back their efforts even as popular support for rallies was growing.
Efforts to set institutional goals for real social change were shut down on the grounds that nobody wanted to discuss our individual ideological differences.
I knew at least a dozen organizers who resigned from the primary anti-war organization in Oregon out of frustration with the internal structure, with the unspoken pro-capitalist ideology, and finally the impotent character of the organization, but I encounter not one person who slowed down or quit their involvement with organizing in order to focus on US complicity in 9/11.
St. Clair explained that the American left is hysterically opposed to the Bush regime partly because they loved Clinton and partyl because they had been kept on a leash during Clinton's presidency. I recall a different decade, and a different outcome to Clinton's presidency. I recall that the American left became thoroughly disenchanted with the democratic party and electoral politics during Clinton's administration. I remember a decade that built up a logger head of radical opposition to the corporate state and, in many circles, to the system of monoply capitalism itself. I remember Seattle. Apparently St. Clair does not.
Regardless of whether or not Jeffrey is correct in his interpretation of what happened on 9/11, his explanation of the failings of the American left are specious, absurd, and finally disingenous.
The Counterpunch gang has taken it upon themselves to call 50% of their own readership nutters and to blame the disarray inside the American left on mental health problems within the rank and file.
We don't need leaders like this. We really don't.